This was an interesting scene for us to take on. We wanted to keep in mind that Iron Man is essentially a comic book and family film but that this scene was also incredibly violent and true to real life for some people in the present world. The scene is set in Afghanistan, which is pretty clear from the outset as Tony Stark is riding with US soldiers in a blatantly middle eastern desert landscape, so we went for a middle eastern vibe with the instrumentation. A recurring Afgani guitar underneath the modern drum loops along with an Eastern percussive drum which we randomised over the top of the standard loop. It’s a very fast tempo to emphasize just how hectic the scene is. Over the top we dotted bits of brass to warn of iminent danger, for instance when the soldier inside the vehicle opens the door. We timed the brass exactly with the when the door was open and when it was shut as if to simulate the danger of the world outside of the vehicle. When the soldier is shot and bullet holes are sprayed into the chassis, letting the light through, we timed this with a perfectly discordant string chord as if it were the sound of bits of the outside getting through.
As Tony Stark runs from the vehicle he becomes disorientated by the noise and chaos, and so we brought in a string motif, as you might come across if this were game-play to signal that your character is running out of energy. Some bits of brass and more strings as he tries and fails at any attempt to help to take down the enemy and as each soldier around him appears to perish.
A big brass reveal moment as he sees the grenade land next to him with his own branding on it and then the explosion. We faded out the loop gradually as he loses consciousness, looking up at the sun. Again the string motif signally a lack of energy comes in and he passes out.
The hostage scene, we wanted to keep a little bit lighter. We were aware that this whole scene from the ambush to hostage is the opening of the movie and so we didn’t want it to be too gritty, despite the footage. So for the hostage scene, we opted very much for a middle eastern instrumentation and musically, however it plays a sort of plodding almost-almost verging on comical sort of music. I wanted to try and get across the “sh**, how am I gonna get out of this one!” sort of vibe and not focus too much on real-life hostage situations after following what was a very violent and hectic ambush scene. The end of the hostage scene then goes into the opening credits of the movie so it seemed like a good idea to have it conclude it’s plodding little melody so something entirely new can then sweep in.
It was a lot of fun to do, and I think this could very much be seen as a movie / game crossover scene.
We also provided the source music in the vehicle at the beginning from our own library of unlicensed audio.